Argentines should stay at home and spend their vacation in Argentina, suggested the head of the tax revenue office, AFIP, arguing in favour of the latest measures severely limiting debit and credit card purchases abroad by charging them an additional 15% expense.
“We prefer that Argentines remain at home and spend their vacations in Argentina”, admitted Ricardo Echegaray in support of the President Cristina Fernandez administration decision that all purchases overseas with credit cards issued in Argentina will have to pay an additional 15% including purchases online from abroad.
However he did not mention that only last year he purchased a condo in Punta del Este, the Uruguayan sea resort, supposedly where he is planning to spend his vacation.
The additional charge on credit card purchases will be deductible by tax payers when they present their annual balances and referred to taxes on profits and personal assets.
AFIP seeks to have a stronger grasp on contributors, who according the agency’s data spent 7.4 billion pesos between January and 18 June 2012 in purchases paid with 168.000 credit cards.
Credit card companies will have to report all the purchases by credit card holders, including those done in foreign countries and in Argentina. The data will be cross checked with requests to buy foreign currency.
The Buenos Aires media reveals that the 15% charge measure has now been made extensive to debit card purchases abroad and online purchases from foreign websites, according to AFIP sources.
Echegaray had originally assured the new regulation would not affect neither online shopping nor debit card purchases.
But La Nacion from Buenos Aires also reveals that according to Echegaray’s annual assets statement before the anti-corruption office, he is the owner of a summer condo in the Uruguayan seaside resort of Punta del Este, which he purchased last year. The condo has 108 sq metres and cost according to the statement, in the range of 220.000 US dollars.
In the last year Echegaray’s assets climbed 38% and among other things has the equivalent of 100.000 US dollars deposited in banks, mostly in US dollars and Euros. Not precisely what his boss Cristina Fernandez suggested to the Argentines and instructed to his ministerial cabinet: all holdings in Argentine Pesos.
The limits on credit and debit cards and online shopping is the latest of a long list of measures adopted by the Argentine government to impede the outflow of capital from the country as mistrust grows towards current policies and are draining the country’s dollars holdings and deposits.